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The Dominican Republic (DR) is a land of contrasts – the physical kind, like the highest peak and the lowest point in the Caribbean, and the more metaphorical kind, like that between the urban street life of Santo Domingo and the rural villages only a short drive away. Santo Domingo, or ‘La Capital’ as it’s typically called, is to Dominicans what New York is to Americans, a collage of cultures; or what Havana is to Cubans, a vibrant beating heart that fuels the entire country. It’s also a living museum, offering the sight of New World firsts scattered around the charming cobblestone streets of the Zona Colonial.
The DR is also famous for the large all-inclusive resorts that dominate much of the country’s prime beachfront real estate. However, the result is less like the high-rise congestion of Cancun or Miami and more like low-slung retirement communities, albeit ones populated by families, couples and singles of all ages looking for a hassle-free holiday. Beyond the gated luxury enclaves, the roads lead inland past vast sugar plantations and through small villages. To get away from the get-away, travelers head to the Península de Samaná, where the European vibe is as strong as an espresso, and where escape is the operative word. Cabarete on the North Coast has winds which draw adrenaline junkies from around the world. And for the anti-Caribbean experience head to the popular mountain retreats of Jarabacoa and Constanza – places where bathing suits are out and sweaters are in.
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are occupied by two countries, Saint Martin being the other. Both by area and population, the Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean nation (after Cuba), with 48,442 km² and an estimated 10 million people.
Inhabited by Taínos since the seventh century, what is now the Dominican Republic was reached by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and became the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas, namely Santo Domingo, the country's capital and Spain's first capital in the New World. In Santo Domingo stand, among other firsts in the Americas, the first university, cathedral, and castle, the latter two in the Ciudad Colonial area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After three centuries of Spanish rule, with French and Haitian interludes, the country became independent in 1821 but was quickly taken over by Haiti. It attained independence in 1844, but mostly suffered political turmoil and tyranny, and as well a brief return to Spanish rule, over the next 72 years. United States occupation 1916-24 and a subsequent, calm six–year period were followed by the military dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina to 1961. The last civil war, in 1965, ended with U.S. intervention, followed by the authoritarian rule of Joaquin Balaguer, to 1978. Since 1978, the Dominican Republic has moved toward representative democracy.
The Dominican Republic has also adopted a liberal economic model, which has made it perhaps the largest economy in the region. Though long known for sugar production, the economy is now dominated by services. The country's economic progress is exemplified by its advanced telecommunication system. Nevertheless, unemployment, government corruption, income maldistribution, and inconsistent electric service remain major Dominican problems.
Migration is a major issue affecting the country, as it both receives and sends large flows of migrants. Haitian immigration and the integration of Dominicans of Haitian descent are major issues in the Dominican Republic. The total population of Haitian origin is estimated to be 800,000. A large Dominican diaspora exists, most of it in the United States, where it comprises 1.1 million. They contribute to the development of the Dominican Republic, as they send billions of dollars to family members in the country, amounting to one-tenth of its GDP.
The Dominican Republic has become the Caribbean's second largest tourist destination after Puerto Rico; the country's year–round golf courses are among the top attractions. In this mountainous country is located the Caribbean's highest mountain, Pico Duarte, as is Lake Enriquillo, the Caribbean's largest lake. Quisqueya, as Dominicans often call their country, has a mild average temperature (26 °C) and is outstanding for its great biological diversity.
Music and sport are of the highest importance in Dominican culture, with merengue music and baseball preferred.
Facts and Figures
Capital - Santo Domingo
Official Language - Spanish
Demonyn - Domnican
Government - Democratic Republic President - Leonel Fernandez Vice President - Rafael Alburquerque
Area - 48,442 km2 (130th)
Population - 9,507,133 (82nd)
National Anthem - Himno Nacional
Currency - Peso
Amelia Vega, Miss Universe 2OO3
Claudia Cruz, Miss World 2OO4 1st Runner Up
Yadira Geara, Miss International 2OO5 1st Runner Up
Amell Santana, Miss Earth - Air 2OO5
Marianne Cruz, Miss Universe 2OO8 2nd Runner Up
Renata Sone, Miss Universe 2OO5 2nd Runner Up
Ada de la Cruz, MW 2007 missosology and MU 2009 1st RU
Bust of Duarte on top of Pico Duarte, with La Pelona in the background.
Cayo Levantado in Samana Bay
South shore of Lake Enriquillo, looking northward to the Sierra de Neiba
Santiago de los Caballeros
Arena Del Cibao
a statue of Columbus in the capital city
Anacaona Avenue in Santo Domingo
Carnaval of La Vega, one of the most famous carnivals in the country
a beach in DR
a stone house in Dominican Republic
Last edited by MISS COSMOPOLITAN on Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:18 am, edited 3 times in total.
Pageant wise, there is always the intense rivalry between the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The peoples of these two rival countries are gifted with mixed strains resulting from the waves of migration from all over, Africas, Sud America and the islands. I have the privilege of meeting some Dominican and PRican friends while I was attending school and later working in NYC and really, many indeed are G-E-O-R-G-E-O-U-S! (with a capital G, not to menton the Brazilians!) But be wary because isa din sila sa mga inaayawan na lahi dahil sa ugali. At napakadali maka... ng DR kasi mahirap lang na bansa ang pinangalingan nila. This applies to either the male or female gender from my personal experience. But most of the people from DR admit to belong to a proud race maybe due to their Latin/Hispanic heritage and will find it hard to accept that what lies beyond the border, on the 2nd half of the island is one of the poorest in that region of the world, Haiti.